Rugby World Cup fever is upon us!  So if you have not already, employers should consider how the biggest event that New Zealand has ever hosted might impact on your employees.  Undoubtedly it will be a fantastic occasion, but to ensure your business continues to operate effectively, employers should think ahead and proactively plan for possible business interruptions caused by games or related events in your area.

FRIDAY 9 SEPTEMBER – OPENING CEREMONY & ALL BLACKS V TONGA

Employers with staff in the Auckland CBD will have been advised of road closures and plans for the official opening celebration at Queens Wharf.  The road closures start at 10pm on Thursday 8 September and finish at 4am on Saturday 10 September.  There will be further closures and limited access around Eden Park, and the other Auckland Fanzones, in the lead up to and after the game. 

Official Fanzones have also been set up in major towns and cities all over the country, which will undoubtedly see a huge influx of people wanting to celebrate the opening ceremony and game.  These may result in road closures or other potential disruptions for businesses.

We suggest that employers who are potentially affected:

  • Ensure that their employees have planned ahead about how they will get to work and/or leave work – perhaps by sending a reminder email about the potential problems and possible solutions ahead of time
  • Consider if it is more practicable to shut down early on 9 September and if so, plan for making up lost time at an earlier or later date
  • Consider that shift employees may also be affected if commuting during the evening, and making alternative arrangements in respect of this
  • Ensure that their employees are sufficiently prepared if travelling through the city for work purposes during the relevant times.

GAMES AND RELATED EVENTS

Employers should also be aware of the pool games taking place in their towns or cities.  These will very likely be accompanied by celebrations and events that your employees may want to attend or that cause disruption.  This will be particularly so if the game is taking place during a weekday or yours is a business that operates in the evenings or on the weekend.  Therefore, you should consider if any of the steps above should be taken.  In particular, employers should ensure that any logistical needs for night or weekend employees are planned in advance – especially if there is no administration support available at that time (unless you want to avoid getting a call out of hours to fix a problem!).

VOLUNTEERS

Many employers will have employees who have volunteered to be official RWC volunteers.  We suggest those employers:

  • Ensure that its volunteers have considered if they require time-off work to avoid any last minute requests, which might not be able to be accommodated
  • Consider that the demand on volunteers may be high.  Therefore, employers should ensure that they are sufficiently monitored during work hours to avoid issues arising due to tiredness or overwork.  If the workload of a volunteer begins to impact on his/her employment in any way, the employer might need to consider other steps
  • Consider that some volunteers may have more extensive roles in the tournament and be required on a full-time basis (i.e. Team Liaison Officers).  Such employees should have sought consent from their employer some time ago to allow them leave for the tournament to fulfil such roles.  But if not, then this should be discussed and resolved now.

GENERAL ABSENTEEISM & PRODUCTIVITY

With all the excitement that will be generated across the country, employers face the possibility of lower productivity and a rise in absenteeism during the Rugby World Cup. 

Employers should plan ahead for any potential disruption caused by this, especially if work hours clash with major games.  Such plans might include:

  • Putting the game on at work
  • Shifting work to another day (if able) to allow employees to take time off
  • Consider if those workers who are interested and disinterested in the Rugby World Cup can swap shifts/duties.

And above all, if all else fails, there are two things that both employers and employees can look forward to:

  • New Zealand will not face France in a quarter or semi final
  • The day after the final is Labour Day!

Go the All Blacks!!